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Article: Twins Draft Preview: Aaron Nola

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 10:11 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...view-Aaron-Nola

#2 whosafraidofluigirussolo

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 10:18 PM

"[FONT=Arial]but there little question that his fastball is not a significant weapon"[/FONT]

I don't think this means what you think it means...?

#3 Parker Hageman

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 10:26 PM

One word too many.

#4 AM.

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 04:00 AM

I'm liking Nola more and more as the draft comes up. Even if he doesn't wind up as a big strikeout guy, his ability to limit walks seems like an 80-grade tool. (A tool that is also hard to develop.) For some reason, I am envisioning him coming out of this draft as the best pitcher by far, with teams kicking themselves for passing on him.

If they were able to sign him for below slot at #5, they could take an overslot HS pitcher in the second round.

The biggest reason not to draft him is that this might be the last chance the Twins have for a while to have this high of a high draft pick, and therefore it might be the last really good chance to get the SS of the future in a guy like Gordon.

#5 AM.

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 04:10 AM

Here is a comp:
Maddux: 6'0", 170lbs, RHP, Career rates of 6.1K/9 and 1.8BB/9, 8.5H/9, 0.6HR/9.
Nola: 6'2", 170lbs, 9.4K/9, 1.4BB/9, 6.5H/9, 0.5HR/9.

#6 drivlikejehu

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 05:44 AM

Here is a comp:
Maddux: 6'0", 170lbs, RHP, Career rates of 6.1K/9 and 1.8BB/9, 8.5H/9, 0.6HR/9.
Nola: 6'2", 170lbs, 9.4K/9, 1.4BB/9, 6.5H/9, 0.5HR/9.


Yeah, fair comparison.

#7 jimbo92107

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:25 AM

Nola reminds me of Jered Weaver. Easy slinging motion, pinpoint control. See how he bent that ball from just outside the zone to nip the inside corner? If that's typical of his command, then this guy is going to win a lot of games.

#8 gunnarthor

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:28 AM

I like Nola a lot. Admittedly, part of the reason is I don't want to wait 5 years for the pick to make it to the majors like Gordon will need. If one of the big 4 doesn't fall to us, then I'd be happy with either Nola or Freeland. But I'm still hoping for a surprise and nabbing Jackson.

But we'll draft Gordon.

#9 LewFordLives

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:36 AM

You can never have too much pitching. I think the comments about this being the last time the Twins pick this high for a while are right on target. Don't waste this pick on some high school project. Go for one of the established college arms. As we've seen over the past week, the Twins are completely different team when they get even a little bit of pitching. Many of the pitching prospects they have now will get hurt or never pan out. Use this pick on another arm!

#10 tobi0040

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:40 AM

Yeah, fair comparison.


Yeah, we have to take him. He is going to be one of the best pitchers of all time.

I remember when Slowey received comps to Maddux because he didn't walk anyone.

#11 tobi0040

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:51 AM

You can never have too much pitching. I think the comments about this being the last time the Twins pick this high for a while are right on target. Don't waste this pick on some high school project. Go for one of the established college arms. As we've seen over the past week, the Twins are completely different team when they get even a little bit of pitching. Many of the pitching prospects they have now will get hurt or never pan out. Use this pick on another arm!


I think it comes down to how many k's will this guy get. If we think he will walk less than 2 batters per 9 and K over 7, I would come around a bit to drafting him at 5. I have read a few scouts say that he doesn't have that swing and miss pitch. The one pitch on this article looks great, but it was one pitch. My understanding is he has gotten better as the year progressed and has seen his stock rise, do scouts feel like that fastball or change up are now swing and miss pitches?

#12 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:01 AM

I remember when Slowey received comps to Maddux because he didn't walk anyone.


Comping a draft pick to Maddux is always a good place to start. No downside to comping a kid to one of the best pitchers of all time.

#13 gunnarthor

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:39 AM

My understanding is he has gotten better as the year progressed and has seen his stock rise, do scouts feel like that fastball or change up are now swing and miss pitches?


Callis and Mayo at mlbpipeline give him two plus (60) pitches and rank him #5 in the draft. (And plus command, too). That would make him a legit #2 type pitcher if he pans out.

#14 AM.

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:08 AM

Comping a draft pick to Maddux is always a good place to start. No downside to comping a kid to one of the best pitchers of all time.


OK, fine. It was a lousy place to start. I take it back! Plus, I really don't think Nola will be as good as Maddux.

The downside on Nola, I think, is that he isn't tall enough, doesn't throw it fast enough, and doesn't have one dominating pitch. But if Nola can turn into a pitcher with 3+ K/BB rates, <9 H/9, and keep HRs down...wouldn't that be an exceptional pitcher?

#15 pierre75275

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:16 AM

If the twins took Nola at 5 what are the chances that one of Gatewood, Gordon or Turner is still available? Or if they took one of those three out are the chances they can still get a good pitcher equal to Nola at 46

#16 tobi0040

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:32 AM

Callis and Mayo at mlbpipeline give him two plus (60) pitches and rank him #5 in the draft. (And plus command, too). That would make him a legit #2 type pitcher if he pans out.


I have generally heard references to plus pitches being 65+, but I don't know if this is neccesarily an exact science.

Fangraphs gives comps and stats that provide context to the numbers, but only on command and fastball velocity. For 60 command they give a BB rate of 5.7% and the comp is Rick Porcello. He has a career 2.2 BB per 9, which is very good. 60 fastball velocity averages 93 mph.

I like the Porcello comp as a potential floor for Nola, career ERA 4.42 and FIP of 4.06. Porcello's ERA was hurt by the fact that he was starting at 20. But Nola should be around 2.2 BB Per 9, but the key is the K's. Porcello is at 5.5 per 9. If Nola can be in the 6.5-7.5 per 9 range I think he can be a #2 starter as well. Given a lower bust potential, if we think he can be that guy I don't hate the pick here, although Jackson and a higher upside arm intrigue me a little more.

http://www.fangraphs...ale-sabr-style/

#17 gunnarthor

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:46 AM

http://www.minorleag...-3-4-5-starters

That's from minorleague ball defining the terms when scouts talk about it. Baseball prospectus had something pretty similar although I don't have the link for it and Klaw uses similar definitions as well (ie - 60 = 6 = plus).

I'd prefer Jackson to fall to us but it's unlikely.

#18 markos

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:12 AM

Given a lower bust potential, if we think he can be that guy I don't hate the pick here, although Jackson and a higher upside arm intrigue me a little more.

http://www.fangraphs...ale-sabr-style/


This is exactly how I feel - I don't hate the pick but would prefer someone else.

Also, I'm bookmarking that link. Thanks for sharing.

#19 Macneil4025

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:21 AM

I want Aaron Nola and its not even close! I'm not sure a Greg Maddux comp is fair, but a Brad Radke comp is more in line. Wouldn't everybody here discussing this agree a 2nd coming of Brad Radke would be more then welcome on the MN Twins!! Take him, develop Polanco & Santana at short!! You can never have enough quality pitching!!

#20 cmb0252

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:31 AM

Average is 50, above average is 55, plus is 60-65, plus-plus is 70+.

As for Nola, I'm just not a fan. If the Twins want a 6'1-6'2 pitcher give me Grant Holmes because of his raw stuff. Maybe I'm just a sucker for stuff or maybe it is because rarely is fastest to the bigs/safest ever turn out to be accurate.

Wimmers, Gilmartin, and Hultzen (no I'm not comparing stuff but the label all of them were given) injuries/set backs have stopped all three from quick to the big arms. Brian Johnson was given the same label in 2012 and he might actually live up to it. I just don't like when part of a players value is link to quickness to the bigs.

#21 Steve Lein

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:31 AM

I have generally heard references to plus pitches being 65+, but I don't know if this is neccesarily an exact science.


I think these "terms" are pretty well defined, actually:

50=average
60=plus
70=plus-plus
80=elite

from Kevin Goldstein: (http://www.baseballp...?articleid=4860)

"A score of 50 is major-league average, 60 is above-average (also referred to as "plus"), and 70 is among the best ("plus-plus"). 80 is top of the charts, and not a score that gets thrown around liberally. 80s in any category are rare..."

cmb0252's list is exactly how I use it. A 55 is "above average."
Scouting Report: Tools - Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)
Spring Training Regular since 2011.

#22 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 11:12 AM

If the twins took Nola at 5 what are the chances that one of Gatewood, Gordon or Turner is still available? Or if they took one of those three out are the chances they can still get a good pitcher equal to Nola at 46



Zero... no one (I can't imagine) is going to fall that far.

#23 Willihammer

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 11:18 AM

Its maddeningly inexact. We have the tools to measure pitch break, spin rate, and extension, bat speed, etc. But we never get hard figures. Heck you're lucky to find raw batted ball counts or whiff counts in most game reports. I don't know what it is about scouting but everyone seems to want to stick to their 5 "tools" and their vague definitions of them.

#24 sorney

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 12:02 PM

Just the picture posted at the top scares me. Good gawd look at that arm angle!! (Yeah, I know, pitchers come in all sizes/shapes/forms/mechanics)

#25 Lonestar

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 12:16 PM

Its maddeningly inexact. We have the tools to measure pitch break, spin rate, and extension, bat speed, etc. But we never get hard figures. Heck you're lucky to find raw batted ball counts or whiff counts in most game reports. I don't know what it is about scouting but everyone seems to want to stick to their 5 "tools" and their vague definitions of them.

[FONT=Arial]On May 8, Jim Callis wrote: [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Nola has two potential plus offerings in his fastball and changeup. He has what it take to be a good No. 3 starter[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/pipeline-inbox-who-will-white-sox-draft-first?ymd=20140508&content_id=74770502[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Now the MLBPipeline Top 100 Prospects says Nola has a 60 fastball and 60 changeup. Both plus for those of you keeping score at home.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2014/#list=draft[/FONT]

Two plus pitches with plus control would make Nola a #2.

[FONT=Arial]There’s a lot of difference between ‘potential plus’ and ‘plus’ and that would affect ones perspective of Nola. I am surprised his control is rated only 60.
[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]One advantage Nola would have in the Radke comp (besides higher velocity) is that he is a GB-oriented pitcher. Some of that will change when he faces better hitters.[/FONT]

#26 cmb0252

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 12:45 PM

[FONT=Arial]On May 8, Jim Callis wrote: [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Nola has two potential plus offerings in his fastball and changeup. He has what it take to be a good No. 3 starter[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/pipeline-inbox-who-will-white-sox-draft-first?ymd=20140508&content_id=74770502[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]Now the MLBPipeline Top 100 Prospects says Nola has a 60 fastball and 60 changeup. Both plus for those of you keeping score at home.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2014/#list=draft[/FONT]

Two plus pitches with plus control would make Nola a #2.

[FONT=Arial]There’s a lot of difference between ‘potential plus’ and ‘plus’ and that would affect ones perspective of Nola. I am surprised his control is rated only 60.
[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]One advantage Nola would have in the Radke comp (besides higher velocity) is that he is a GB-oriented pitcher. Some of that will change when he faces better hitters.[/FONT]


The Top 100 isn't done by just Callis but with Mayo/Pleskoff's input too so it shouldn't be surprising that there might be a few discrepancies. As you point out Callis suggests Nola could be a good number 3 while Mayo has suggested before that he could be a number 2. Interestingly enough once Hoffman went down Callis/Mayo both wrote articles on whom they think the Cubs should take at #4. Here is what Mayo wrote:

[FONT=arial]"For me, I'd rather take the guy I feel certain will stay at a premium spot defensively. And that's Nick Gordon, now No. 6 on the Top 100. Sure, you could go the "safe" route with LSU ace Aaron Nola, but if I'm given this pick, I think I'd rather go with the higher upside."

[/FONT]
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/jonathan-mayo-nick-gordon-fits-for-cubs-at-no-4-in-draft?ymd=20140513&content_id=75299890&vkey=news_mlb

(Callis picked Jackson by the way)

#27 Willihammer

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 12:48 PM

What makes Nola's changeup a plus pitch, and not average or plus-plus?

Whiff%? GB%? Break? Velocity difference from his fastball?

#28 cmb0252

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 01:17 PM

What makes Nola's changeup a plus pitch, and not average or plus-plus?

Whiff%? GB%? Break? Velocity difference from his fastball?


In college we don't, at least fans don't, have all the fancy stats like we do with the pros. We have certain numbers but a lot of it is the eye test. Early break vs late break vs no break. Run to the right vs run to the left vs no run at all. For change ups especially it is release point that is important (trying to make sure it is the same as your fastball). Velocity difference definitely is important.

Nola is a very polarizing pitcher because while his plus command is evident his stuff is debated. Heck, here are two different write ups on his spitches:

Mlb.com:
60 fastball, 50 slider, 60 change up.
[FONT=Helvetica Neue]Nola isn't physical or overpowering, but he has exquisite command of his three-pitch arsenal. He effortlessly works at 91-93 mph with his fastball, which plays up because his low three-quarters arm slot produces sink and he can locate the pitch wherever he wants. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, grading as plus at times, and he can throw his three-quarters breaking ball for strikes.

[/FONT]
Espn.com
55 fastball, 60 curve ball, 50 change
[FONT=Verdana]He gets downward movement on his 91-93 fastball, giving right-handed hitters fits and gets plenty of ground balls. His curveball is a potential swing-and-miss pitch in the mid 70's with good depth and spin, and he has good feel for the pitch as well. Right now Nola's change is just average, offering some fade but inconsistent arm speed hurts the deception on the pitch.

[/FONT]
Both credible sources with two very different write ups. Not only do they disagree on Nola's best secondary pitch but what his breaking ball is. One thing to be noted is I don't believe any of the grades have been changed since they were first written up. One example of why I say that is because here is a line from an article Law/Crawford did together last week:

[FONT=verdana]"Usually, pitchers who have arm-slot issues don't belong in a discussion of prospects with the highest floors, but Nola is a rare exception. He has two plus pitches in a 92-94 mph fastball and a change that has quality deception from arm speed, and he commands both of those offerings from his low three-quarter arm slot. "[/FONT]

Edited by cmb0252, 22 May 2014 - 01:22 PM.


#29 themattsonian

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 01:27 PM

This seems kind of crazy to me. When was the last time the Twins had a solid 2-way SS? Hardy (who was hurt most of the season)? That position has been a black hole for years in this organization. By all accounts, Alex Jackson is destined for a corner outfield spot, which is seemingly every major leaguers fall back position. Just look who the Twins have been playing there lately. I think if you get the opportunity to draft a stud franchise shortstop, you have to take it. Short stops that can field AND hit at a high level are extremely rare. I don't think Gordon's bat is THAT far behind Jackson's. If I were drafting for the Twins, I'd take any of the big 3 pitchers (Rodon, Aiken, Kolek) should one fall, and after that it's 1) Gordon 2) Freeland/Nola 3) Jackson on the priority list. Everything I've read regarding Gordon is that he would sign for under slot too, giving the Twins more flexibility later in the draft to sway a High School Pitcher with high upside to sign. Alex Jackson is a Scott Boras guy, so you know that ain't happening.

P.s. I'm really intrigued by Tyler Kolek though. Dude throws FLAME.

#30 Lonestar

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 01:44 PM

Alex Jackson is a Scott Boras guy, so you know that ain't happening.

Scott Boras is Chris Parmelee's agent. And Alex Meyer's.